It’s estimated that 1 in 65 people in Ireland have autism.

A new survey has found that Irish people show strong positive support for autistic people in schools, employment and society but admit that their knowledge of the condition is inadequate.

The research was commissioned by AsIAm, Ireland’s largest autism charity, to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

The survey of 1,000 people discovered Irish people strongly support the education of autistic people in mainstream schools.

61 per cent believe mainstream schools should be responsible for the education of autistic people, with this figure rising to 71 per cent among those aged 18 to 25.

Only 40 per cent believe they have a quite good or very good understanding of autism, while younger people are more likely to believe they have a good understanding of the condition.

Younger people are also more likely to be aware of having an autistic person among their friends.

25 per cent of all people say there is an autistic person among their friends, but this rises to 33 per cent within the 18 to 25 age group.

Half of working adults feel that autistic people could work in a job like theirs, with this proportion being higher among those over 35.

However, 85 per cent of people with autism are unemployed or underemployed.

Just 5 per cent of those surveyed said they don’t think autistic people could get married and establish families.

According to Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, the survey shows a gap in public support for inclusion and the reality:

“Autistic people are up to 9 times more likely to die by suicide. Social isolation, particularly among autistic adults, remains a norm. The people’s attitudes are ahead of the Government’s efforts to include autistic people.

 “For over five years, the Government have allowed successive Autism Bills and proposed strategies to languish on the floor of the Oireachtas whilst at the same time assuring the community of its support.”